App Performance Services from Vanco and Orange Business Services

Orange Business Services and Vanco are two forward-thinking service providers offering managed application performance optimization services. They cater to multinational companies (Orange through its Equant acquisition), which places them smack in the sweet spot of the distributed application delivery system benefits we talked about in yesterday's blog - and they are making the most of it.

We recently chatted with Jean Critcher, Head of the Application Management Competency Center for Orange Business Services, and with Ciaran Roche, Solutions Director for "virtual network operator" Vanco US. Both service providers offer packaged application delivery services built around Ipanema's Business Network Optimization platform, as well as customized solutions built around other application delivery system vendors including Riverbed, Juniper, Packeteer and Cisco.

Interestingly Vanco and Orange's preferred vendor is Ipanema, and not current industry darlings like Riverbed. We asked Jean and Ciaran to explain their choice. They both like the fact that Ipanema designed its product with service providers in mind. Ipanema scales well to handle many customers, and provides them with the reporting they need. In contrast according to Jean Critcher, "Riverbed is very enterprise centric. They haven't built a central management platform that is friendly to us." She added that although Cisco's solution is carrier friendly, their current pricing structure is enterprise centric, making them an uneconomical choice for service providers. This is surprising given Cisco's traditional courtship of service providers.

The Ipanema-based service from Orange, called Business Acceleration Network Boost, and the comparable Vanco service, called Application Aware Networking, layer onto both service providers' IP VPN services. Both performance optimization services share essential elements in common. They identify WAN applications and provide bandwidth usage breakdown, they dynamically optimize application performance by adjusting throughput to favor critical applications, and they accelerate networked applications.

Given their druthers, Orange and Vanco would prefer to limit their offerings to their packaged services, but they offer customized services wrapped around other vendors' solutions for two reasons. First, many customers already have vendors in place (often Packeteer) while others simply prefer to remain in Cisco's camp for all of their networking needs. Second, as Jean put it, "Our customers kill us with the Gartner Magic Quadrant." In her experience, Riverbed and Juniper routinely win the public popularity contest - Riverbed often winning on raw performance, and Juniper on cost.

In the end, Orange and Vanco feel they must support the vendors customers want. So Orange offers customized Business Acceleration services wrapped around Packeteer, Juniper and Riverbed (with Cisco available by special request), and Vanco customizes its Application Aware Networking service around Riverbed and Packeteer, with Cisco support planned.

Orange is offering some ground-breaking end-to-end application performance service level agreements/objectives - more on that subject, and more profiles of other service provider offerings later.

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